Qualcomm officially unveils the Snapdragon 820

by: Jimmy WestenbergNovember 10, 2015
3.4K
qualcomm logo mwc 2015 2

Despite what many folks would say, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 – the processor that’s powering most high-end smartphones in today’s market – is a perfectly capable CPU that does wonders in terms of performance. Now the company’s latest flagship chipset has just been revealed, boasting X12 LTE support, an upgraded Adreno 530 GPU and much, much more.

For starters, the new Snapdragon 820 processor supports LTE Cat. 12 download speeds of up to 600 Mbps as well as LTE Cat. 13 uplink speeds of up to 150 Mbps. It also comes with support for X12 LTE, which is said to provide 33% faster peak download speeds and triple the peak upload speeds of the company’s 810 processor with X10 LTE.

It's the first commercial mobile processor to take advantage of LTE-U

The 820 also supports both 802.11ad and 802.11ac 2×2 MU-MIMO, which will allow Wi-Fi connectivity to be up to 2-3x faster than the standard 802.11ac without MU-MIMO. This is also the first commercial mobile processor to take advantage of LTE-U, allowing it to access LTE connections in both licensed and unlicensed spectrum. This will help boost your phone’s connection speeds and mobile broadband access in areas that are normally congested.

Take a look at the table below to see just how the new 820 compares to Qualcomm’s other flagships, the 810 and the 808:

 Snapdragon 808Snapdragon 810Snapdragon 820
CPUUp to 2 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A57, quad-core Cortex A53 CPU
64-bit
Up to 2 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex A57, quad-core A53 CPU
64-bit
Up to 2.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Kryo CPU
64-bit
GPUAdreno 418Adreno 430Adreno 530
ModemX10 LTE
- LTE Advanced 3x20MHz Carrier Aggregation in the downlink
- Cat 9 speeds up to 450 Mbps down/50 Mbps up
- Global Mode
RF360 support
X10 LTE
- LTE Advanced 3x20MHz Carrier Aggregation in the downlink
- Cat 9 speeds up to 450 Mbps down/50 Mbps up
- Global Mode
RF360 support
X12 LTE
- LTE Advanced 3x20MHz Carrier Aggregation in the downlink, 2x20 MHZ in the uplink
- Cat 12/13 speeds up to 600 Mbps down/150 Mbps up
- Global Mode
RF360 support
Video/audio1080p and 4K Ultra HD capture, playback, and display
4K playback with H.264 (AVC) and H.265 (HEVC)
4K capture with H.264 (AVC)
1080p and 4K Ultra HD capture, playback, and display
4K capture and playback with H.264 (AVC) and H.265 (HEVC)
1080p and 4K Ultra HD capture, playback, and display
4K capture and playback with H.264 (AVC) and H.265 (HEVC)
CameraUp to 21MPUp to 55MPUp to 28MP
2x Spectra Camera ISP
Display2K native and 4K external displays
Ultra HD on-device display concurrent with Ultra HD output to HDTV
4K native and 4K external displays
Ultra HD on-device display concurrent with Ultra HD output to HDTV
4K native and 4K external displays
Ultra HD on-device display concurrent with Ultra HD output to HDTV
qualcomm-logo-aa-mwc-840See also: Qualcomm Kryo and heterogeneous computing explained7

Additionally, the Snapdragon 820 features the Qualcomm Adreno 530 GPU that should be able to deliver up to 40% improved graphics performance compared to the Adreno 430 GPU, as well as the custom-designed 64-bit quad-core Kryo CPU which uses Qualcomm’s Symphony System Manager to help with power management across the entire processor.

Also, as previously announced, this chipset comes with support for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0, which is approximately 4x faster than conventional charging methods, and 38% more efficient than Quick Charge 2.0.

There are many new features that come with this chipset that we didn’t list here, so be sure to head to the source link below for all of the specifications. Even though the company has made the 820 official, we’re still a little ways out from seeing the processor make its way into new smartphones.

  • João Grácio

    I hope they don´t throtlle to much.

  • NamelessStar

    lol lets see if it doesnt become the next heatdragon of the pack, hoping not as it looks like a nice chip but cant tell anymore.

  • Gaurav Pandey

    Heating thing I will be looking at and also how well optimize it will be in reality.

  • KeyserSoze

    Probably needs a heat sink to run stable. Hehe!

  • catapult

    Quallcomm ppl have learned their lesson pretty well it seems, good for us

    • Bad_Qualcom

      NO, their NOT.
      They blaming ARM cortex for their incompetence.

  • Gangsta101

    Return of the dragon! Yes!!!
    Now let’s see what OEMs can do with this monster

    • rock1m1

      Dragons likes it hot

      • Danrarbc

        Not usually with Qualcomm’s custom cores. Their previous 64 bit chips used standard Cortex cores – this is their return to a custom core. These should run a lot better.

        • Bad_Qualcom

          Samsung use ARM Cortex cores, and don’t get hot.
          standard ARM cortex cores is NOT bad. Qualcom blame ARM cortex cores design for their incompetence.

          • Danrarbc

            Samsung used standard cores for 2015 just like Qualcomm, but Samsung manufactured them at 14nm instead of 20nm.

            The 820 drops to 14nm and gains the custom cores that made Snapdragons a great line in the first place. Samsung supposedly will also switch to a custom core in 2016. The only reason each went with standard Cortex was the 64 bit transition required a longer design turnaround.

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        • Hotbod Handsomeface

          Lol, that’s what they said when they “fixed” the 810s.

          • It did get slightly better with v2.1 which I noticed when I got a replacement for my Z3+, but I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a fix. Also manufacturers did “tame” it with the cooling systems they put in the phones. Battery isn’t draining as much and what not.

          • Hotbod Handsomeface

            Lol, “tame” = “throttle the performance of”

            Doesn’t quite make it a solution…

          • mrjayviper

            you can underclock any CPU and you’ll get more battery life/less heat ANY time

          • Hotbod Handsomeface

            Thanks for proving my point, Captain Obvious. Can’t tell if you’re attempting to argue against what I said (in which case you lose the internet today) or if you are just offering worthless and pointless rhetoric to further explain my point.

          • I was thinking of getting the Z5 Premium, it seems to handle the heat. Buut I don’t know. Confused. Heh. Sick of my Z3+.. I had the original Z3 and I was happy with it. Meh.

          • Danrarbc

            It’s cool, I get that the 2015 chips rubbed people the wrong way. But this is the only misstep from Qualcomm since they introduced the Snapdragon line – I don’t understand why people have THIS degree of distrust.

          • balcobomber25

            I don’t have disgust for Qualcomm but their 2015 lineup was a complete disaster. The 810 and 615 were a train wreck between throttling, overheating and performance issues and the 410 was vastly underpowered. Mediatek on the other hand gained significant ground with 3 great SoC’s: 6752 (perhaps the best SoC of the year), X10 and 6735.

      • My name is Shayan

        The snapdragon 810 had known leakage issues, meaning that when the cpu, when in standby and operating heavily, would consume excessive amounts of current. As current increases, temperature increases. As temperature increases, current consumption increases. (Kind of a vicious cycle) Qualcomm knew about this in their previous chip, and has since heavily corrected this in their future chips including the successor to the 820 which is already being worked on. I can assure you that Qualcomm’s cores are the ones to beat :)

    • Hotbod Handsomeface

      Burn a hole in your hand.

    • retry4

      Let’s hope this one doesn’t breathe fire!

    • Cough! EXYNOS

  • J G

    apple’s A9 > snapdragon 820

    • Chester

      You forgot the exclamation mark. Let me help you.

      apple’s A9 !> snapdragon 820

      There we go. Thanks for your valuable contribution to the discussion, JG! :)

      • J G

        youre welcome. i get that alot

    • The A9 isn’t really a good CPU by itself. The thing is Apple’s close OS and the fact that this SOC is used only in a handful of devices all amde by apple, means they can optimize it like crazy. Other mobile CPU needs to work for multiple OS (Windows 10, Android, etc) and hundreds of different phones, and Android is way less optimized for obvious reasons.

      • retrospooty

        It’s still a good chip. A good chip plus the optimizations you mentioned is why it scores so well. The only downside is you would have to be hampered with IOS and it’s lack of features.

        • Diego

          No seriously we should put the sd 820 against the a9.
          Just for comparison.
          Can’t wait for anandtech to review the phones that will have it.

          • retrospooty

            I would prefer a site who’s founder doesn’t work for Apple… Not that it matters, both are more than plenty fast.

          • Diego

            He does not have any part on what happens with anandtech reviews.
            They know better then to ask him about apple products.

          • retrospooty

            Aaaaand… They still have a hard on for Apple products. No thanks. Here is the key part anyhow. It doesn’t matter “both are more than plenty fast”. It s like saying my Lamborghini is potentially 2% faster than your Ferrari while we are both on the same highway with a 65 mph speed limit thus pushing neither anywhere near its capabilities… As long as the SD820 isnt too hot like the SD810 I am happy.

      • Chetan Takyar

        Ha….and you know the architecture of the A9? No. Its an incredible chipset, optimisation is nowhere near the only reason it performs so well.

    • retrospooty

      The problem with that is to get it you are stuck with an iPhone. :P

  • AbbyZFresh

    SnapToaster 820

    • Keith Taylor

      Really

  • Daggett Beaver

    Liquid nitrogen cooling system not included.

    • Kishore Venktesh

      Sold Separately xD

  • Andrew Slater

    So should I wait for a phone with this or just go ahead and get the Nexus 6P?

    • Lauge Feierskov

      The Nexus 6P should be plenty powerful for most people.

    • Keith Taylor

      If you are not in a hurry, just wait three months and see what phones are going to be offered with it in say March. If you get to that point price is an issue then get the the 6P then on sale. Remember no matter what you do once you get it, it’s old.

  • Final Lau

    Better not be another toasty chipset like 810..

  • Kunal Shukla

    hope it does not heat up like 810

  • Paul

    I can make my exynos note 4 shut down due to heat. Give them a break. I’m looking forward to see improvements it’ll bring

    • kg2105

      If you overclock the Note 4 maybe. Qualcomm deserved all the crap they got for the 810, the 805/800/600 were all great when they were released (the 801 was okay). They messed up with the 810 and refused to admit it.

      • Paul

        Bs my note isn’t routed.

  • Shashi Kiran K

    get ready for a series of either handhold heaters or a underclocked sluggish highend devices

  • Gunik Maliwal

    Tommorow Xiaomi Mi5 is launching so .. they had to unveil :p

  • Shashi Kiran K

    the biggest letdown this year of 2015 so far as tech concerned,
    Qualcom’s chips snapdragon 615,810,808 all suck, samsung’s own exynos 7420 is a lone saviour for android lovers
    Because of Qualcomm’s chips many android OEM’s accounted huge losses this year and so many shifted to APPLE.

    • Jumanji242

      You think enough common consumers went to iOS because of an overheating soc? I think people went to iOS because Apple released a large screen phone.

    • Bad_Qualcom

      The good things about android is, it’s support multiple vendor (CPU, etc… unlike other OS). So, when one brand mess up, the other will/can take over. I really hope Samsung/Huawei/MediaTek/nVidia can have CPU that can challenge the dragon, and make android more solid.

      • kg2105

        Samsung already beat the dragon handily with the 7420, Nvidia just gave up on mobile for some reason (they are focusing on cars). It’s definitely good that the 820 is not a failure like the 810, you don’t have to make up all these excuses or be in denial about the 820 hopefully.

  • George

    Hot news match a hot cpu like this one!

  • ChrisGX

    “Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810…is a perfectly capable CPU that does wonders in terms of performance.” No, it isn’t. It is an undeniably flawed design, where promising performance is undermined by major thermal issues and where the mitigating fixes – alloy cases, thermal tubes, detuning/underclocking and patches to the processor control program – all underscore the flaw even as they attempt to work around it. Maybe, you would like to expose as propaganda Qualcomm’s statements about heat as wasted energy, which were meant to speak to the distinctive advantages of the SD 820 relative to other comparable processors, aswell!

    With the SD 820 we may now have a SoC that delivers on its promise rather than falling in a heap under load.

    • Daggett Beaver

      I agree. Almost every webzine’s story about the 820 includes some text about how the controversy over the 810 was unwarranted. It was perfectly warranted. How many pictures of phone apps force closing due to overheating do authors need to see before they understand this? In Japan, they even had warning signs about Sony phones overheating. Samsung ditched the 810 because it overheats. And the over-throttling has been well documented by high quality tech sites.

      If the 810 was so great, Qualcomm wouldn’t have to go to Samsung to get its next processor manufactured under a 14nm FinFET process.

  • DUdG

    Not excited, can’t afford flagship smartphones, but I am glad to know this new “upgrade” to android system…

    • Danrarbc

      These Kryo cores should make it in to the midrange parts too.

      • DUdG

        Yes, I hope so!

  • Karly Johnston

    I’m just glad they are dropping big.little octa-core deca-core BS.

    • Sinan Cagrı Kurt

      Actually they are still using big Little , but now they are using 2+2 instead of 4+4. 2 of the cores clocked at 2.2 ghz and other 2 clocked at 1.6-1.7 ghz.

      • Karly Johnston

        The L3 cache is shared so it isn’t big.Little with a shared HMP architecture.

        • Sinan Cagrı Kurt

          Yes that is kinda true, it isn’t Hmp by Arm it’s custom big little.

  • Diego

    Qualcomm please don’t mess up this time.

  • Hamza Ali

    It says quad core, Is it not an Octa core?

    • ChrisGX

      Quad core, completely new design. Don’t mourn the loss of four unnecessary cores and big.LITTLE. Hopefully, ARM will dump that too in future with a more transistor and space conserving approach.

      • Hamza Ali

        I’m actually happy that it’s quad core. Octa core phones have shit battery life, hopefully 2016 flagship phones have excellent battery life.

      • Sinan Cagrı Kurt

        Actually they are still using big Little , but now they are using 2+2 instead of 4+4. 2 of the cores clocked at 2.2 ghz and other 2 clocked at 1.6-1.7 ghz.

      • Hamza Ali

        Once again I’m really happy that it’s quad core.

  • DanG

    Well, here comes Exynos 8890

  • Paul

    Sooo many chip experts lol

  • Jose Sanchez

    Nothin beats a A chip from Apple. LooK at all the speed test on you tube and than we talk :)